Kayak Adventure in Virginia Beach

Kayak Adventure in Virginia Beach

You see, when you make you one change in your life (say, travel more often) inevitably you feel empowered to try even more new things.  Which is how we found ourselves on the sandy beaches of First Landing State Park, VA one fine Sunday morning, preparing to board a kayak.  The day we booked the trip, Groupon was conveniently running a deal for a 2.5 Hour Guided Kayak Tour of either First Landing State Park (tranquil bay, easy sunset paddling) or a Dolphin Watching Tour at Virginia Beach (open water, ocean waves, possibility of seeing sea creatures).   Feeling especially adventurous (hey, we just booked our first mileage run!), we booked both – easy sunset paddle on Sunday and open water ocean tour on Monday.

Another fun fact about Mr. TravelByPoints and me – we both have a mild phobia of water, particularly open water.   To further illustrate this point, after booking the groupons, I called and spoke at length to the ever-so-sweet and patient owner of the Kayak company, Matt of Chesapean Outdoors, about the odds of first timers falling into the water and whether the area had any reports of recent shark sightings.  The answers, in case you’re interested, were “slim, unless you want to” and “nothing to worry about”.

Flights booked, groupons printed, and local restaurants scouted from Restaurant.com and United Dining, we left Las Vegas bright and early one Saturday morning in May and arrived in Norfolk in the early evening.  This being a 3 day weekend, we made excursion plans for Sunday and Monday, with Saturday being reserved as a travel, eat and rest day.   Once Sunday arrived, we bounced out of bed and drove about 30 minutes from our hotel in Norfolk to Virginia Beach, where we strolled the shoreline and hung out at the beach for half the day before heading to the feature event of our weekend – our kayak adventure!

We arrived a good hour early for our tour to give ourselves time to wander the park and take in its varied surroundings – beach enclave in some areas and lakefront chic with grass in others.  At the scheduled time, our trusty guide and other members of our group started filing in.  They led us in a quick warm up and overview of kayaking basics and 10 minutes later we were pushing off from the shoreline.

What followed for the next 2.5 hours was magical.  The water was calm and we still had about 2 hours of sunlight left to the day.  Our guide led us along backwater byways, under abandoned wooden bridges and through woody marshes.   Both Mr. Travelbypoints and I marveled at our own ability to turn left and right and even stopping without tipping over.  As if on cue, the sun began to set just as were making our way back to the boat launch and splattered the skyline with varying shades of orange and red before slipping away.  It was the perfect way to end our first kayaking experience, capped off by Mr. Travelbypoints turning to me mid-float and saying with awe, “I didn’t realize I would have so much fun on the water. What a great idea!”

Other notable highlights from the trip include delicious seafood (one of the best tuna steaks we’ve ever had), a visit to the Norfolk Botanical Gardens and of course the open ocean dolphin tour (no pictures because the risk of tipping over was high given the unpredictability of the waves).

On the ocean tour, we saw a few dolphins from a distance and felt a rush of adrenaline as we hit the waves (literally) upon launch.    Although other details are fuzzy (all that excitement), I do remember our guide yelling out to us as they launched us, one by one,  into the water, “Keep paddling, don’t stop. Meet the wave head on and you’ll sail right over it.”  As in play, so in life.  Ah, the things we learn in unexpected places.

Happy Travels!

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